Think of the word “chevalier”
At first hand, it implies that a man is chivalrous. A knight, as it was called way back in the day. Someone who was quite well off. Had a good hand with the ladies. A charmer.
But if you do your linguistic (i.e. French) research right, it is far simpler than that. It means a guy who owns a horse. No more, no less. A mere horse.
Owning a horse, in the old days, extended not only your body (taller, faster, tougher) but also your persona (smarter, sexier, more powerful).
Now fast forward to present days. Few men, and women, own a horse today. But very many of us own a car. And funnily enough, we have, for the last century, attributed that ownership the same connotations as our medieval predecessors did to their horses. We love and cherish the brand of the car we own and drive.
My car makes me not only taller, faster and tougher but also smarter, sexier and more powerful. At least, that is what we think. And what makes us spend a considerable part of our income on a rather dead piece of metal and plastic. At least compared to a horse.
But now things are changing.
Cars are not sold anymore. They are leased. Or even rented by the hour (without any shady implications). Basically, cars are owned by banks. Not by individuals.
So, from being an object that you own, cars have become a service that you buy. When you need it.
Where will this – in the longer perspective – lead to in terms of brand affinity and brand asset? Will young urban drivers develop a closer relationship with those brands that provide the functionality of a car-for-hire than the brands of those manufacturers that actually make cars-for-sale.
We don’t know yet. But we can find out.
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Car for sale. Who cares?